In a blow to the wildlife conservation movement in India, notorious wildlife trader, Sansar Chand, allegedly involved in possessing and trading skins of tigers, leopards and other animals, was discharged today by a Delhi court, after the prosecution failed to prove his guilt in a case dating back to 1993.
This case was registered against Sansar Chand on 30th August 1993 when a huge cache of illegal wildlife goods were siezed at Majnu-ka-Tila and nearby areas in Delhi. The seized goods included nearly 400 kilograms of tiger bones, 43 leopard skins, 128 otter skins, 8 tiger skins, and other skins of small cats, civets and antelopes.
Sansar Chand was discharged on the grounds of lack of evidence. The prosecution failed to establish any direct link between the seized goods and Sansar Chand, and the fact that there was no recovery from him went in his favour. However, charges have been framed against the co-accused, Mohammad Yakoob.
Sansar Chand has been involved in poaching activities for over three decades; his first wildlife case was registered against him in 1974. Since then, there have been more than 57 wildlife cases filed against him and his gang members in different parts of the country. In 2006, under interrogation by the CBI, Sansar Chand apparently admitted to selling 470 tiger skins and 2,130 leopard skins to just four clients from Nepal and Tibet.
So far, Sansar Chand has been acquitted or discharged in five cases in Delhi. He was convicted in two cases in Delhi in 1982, and in one case in Rajasthan in 2004. He still has cases pending against him in Delhi and Uttarakhand, and is currently in prison in Ajmer in connection with several wildlife cases registered in Rajasthan, including those in relation to the disappearance of tigers from Sariska.